Detroit Lions: Memorable Moments of NFL Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders

Richard SchlaudContributor IIMay 9, 2011

Detroit Lions: Memorable Moments of NFL Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders

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    6 Dec 1998: Barry Sanders #20 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Lions 37-22. Mandatory Credit: Eliot J. Schechter  /Allsport
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    Barry Sanders. Just the name evokes some of the most memorable moments in football history. He began his journey in college at Oklahoma State and left early after winning the Heisman Trophy. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions, where he had a brilliant ten year run. Here are some of the brightest moments of Barry Sanders football career.

Barry Has One of the Greatest Seasons in NCAA History

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    STILLWATER, OK - OCTOBER 29:  The OSU logo is shown during the Texas Longhorns game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on October 29, 2005 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Longhorns defeated the Cowboys 47-28.  (Photo by Ronald Martin
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    For those who followed Barry in college, the memories were great and the numbers were staggering.

    In his junior season of 1988:
    Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards, an NCAA record.
    He had 3,249 total yards, an NCAA record.
    Sanders scored 39 TDs (37 rushing, 1 kick return, 1 punt return), an NCAA record.
    He averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
    Barry rushed for over 300 yards in four games.

    (Sanders also ran for 222 yards and scored 5 touchdowns in his three quarters of the Holiday Bowl - a game that was not included with his season statistics.)

Tampa Bay Saw Plenty of Barry Sanders' Backside

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    10 Nov 1991: Running back Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions moves the ball during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers won the game, 30-21.
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    There are two games against Tampa Bay stand out. One at home and one on the road. The Sunday night game in 1994 against Tampa Bay in Pontiac. Barry had 37 yards rushing at halftime so nobody saw it coming. He rushed for 237 yards, 200 in the 2nd half. He became the first player to rush for 200 yards in a game without scoring a TD. His game in 1997 at Tampa Bay when he had two TD runs of 80+ yards. He finished the game with 215 yards rushing. The Lions would win, 27-9.

Barry Sanders vs. Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football, 1990

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    10 Dec1989: Barry Sanders #20 of the Detroit Lions looks on the field during a game against the Chicago Bears. The Lions defeated the Bears 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Monday night game at the Silverdome against the Raiders and Bo Jackson. Barry was outstanding in his first ever appearance on Monday Night Football. He had 176 yards rushing and 2 TD’s as the Lions lost a thriller, 38-31. Bo Jackson said after the game the “Barry is my new idol. When I Grow up, I want to be just like him.” The legend began to grow.

Barry Sanders Carries the Lions over Defending Super Bowl Champ Dallas Cowboys

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    17 Dec 1994: Running back Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions moves the ball during a game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The Lions won the game, 41-19.
    Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

    His big matchup on Monday Night Football against Emmitt Smith and the Dallas Cowboys in September of 1994. Arguably, the two best running backs in the NFL at the time, Barry was electric. He finished with 40 rushing attempts, the most for a single game in his career. He also gained 194 as the Lions beat the defending Super Bowl champs in Dallas, 20-17.

The Chicago Bears See the Magic of Barry Up Close

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    14 Sep 1997:  Running back Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions moves the ball during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.  The Lions won the game, 32-7. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Bears had seen enough of Barry Sanders that you knew eventually, he would produce his magic even against them. The video doesn't lie as Barry escapes the Chicago Bears defense on one of his greatest TD runs ever. It was literally a “How did he do that?” moment.

Barry Helps Lions Win a Home Playoff Game Against Dallas Cowboys

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    Barry runs for a TD against Dallas in the Lions’ only playoff win since the late 50’s. Barry somehow got lost in the sea of players with some Cowboys thinking he was tackled. He escaped, darted behind DT Tony Casillas, juked LB Ken Norton and sprinted untouched to the end zone.

Barry's Magical 2000 Yard Season

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    28 Sep 1997:  Running back Barry Sanders #20 of the Detroit Lions carries the football during the Lions 26-15 win over the Green Bay Packers at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Allsport
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Dec 21, 1997. Barry rushes for 184 yards to become just the third player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards in a season. The Lions beat the Jets 13-10 in the season finale. He finishes the season with 2053 yards.